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What Kind of Tires Are Best for Your E-bike?

Mootoro C1 parks against a wall

What dimension of tires should you get on an e-bike? Currently, there are a wide range of e-bikes out on the market, different tire sizes for different design with different makes, so it ends up being more and more challenging to decide what model is right for you.

So generally, 20-inch tires and 26-inch tires are commonly seen on most bikes and you can also spot some 700c tires too. So I would say 20-inch and 26-inch tires are the general choices. And it's been hard to figure out which one to put on.

So it actually comes down to what sort of riding you prefer and also what kind of electric bike setting do you want?

 

Riding Style

A rider shows pictures on the phone to the other, standing beside a mud-coverd mountain bike.

Are you using your e-bike as more of a bike where you desire it to act, ride, like a conventional bicycle?

If that's a “yes”, you're looking at a full-size tire. That would either be a 26-inch or in most common cases, someone that's five-foot, maybe a 24-inch or a 700c tire.

Additionally, if you're going to be riding off-road, mountain trails, you better go with a full-sized tire, 26-inch.

However, I'm seeing a great number of 20-inch tire e-bikes available. Mootoro adapts 20-inch tires for all-terrain conditions to most of our e-bikes. Given that different tire size will fit different e-bike frame structure. So that is why we have adjusted our model so that they can better work with the various tire sizes.

 

Pros & Cons

The advantage of setting like this is simply easy to get on and off, better controlling and lite. Currently the drawback is it's not going to be energy-saving as a 26-inch or a full-size tire does. When you're simply use manpower  pedaling, you're unlikely to be able to go as fast as on a 26-inch or 700c wheel. That means you are going to spend more power to maintain a speed with 20-inch tires.

So if you get on a 20-inch bike, pedaling faster is pretty much more challenging than on a 26-inch. So if you actually want to spend more time pedaling and that's more you value than the electric use of the bike, I advise a 26-inch wheel or a full-sized tire bike.

Mootoro electric bike 20-inch with 4-inch fat tire

However, if you're a lot more into utilizing the pedal-assist or having it be an fully electric bike, the 20-inch is an excellent option, particularly if you're trying to find something smaller in size.

Once more, easy on and off. With a 20-inch, the bike will have a lower center of gravity as a the whole. So you will expect a lower crossbar, seat height, and step-through height. So if step-over is a problem for you, mounting as well as dismounting is a problem for you, thinking about a 26-inch is a really good option. Yet once again, if you're planning to utilize it as a traditional bike, greater than you're going to use the electricity of it, you’re not able to get the kind of leg expansion on a 20-inch electric bike that you can get on a full-size 26-inch wheeled bike.

So before your purchase, it actually breaks down to the use and the occasions, terrains, and riding styles that you want to use it.

 

Tire Width

A front mountian bike tire with dirt on it.

We can see a lot of 20-inch with four-inch or three-inch tires, which is the general setting.

The four-inch tires are really thick, like a big foot.

Three-inch tires are one step down with cruiser tires under it, which are 2.125 inches.

At the last, there are thinner tires, 700c tires.

Still circling back to what kind of riding you want.

 

Four-inch & Three-inch

  • Easily switching between on-road or off-road
  • Better handling with uneven road conditions
  • Having a motorcycle-like riding experience

Even though the fat tire generate a great traction to better grab the surface, however, it encounter the same amount of resistance that consumes more battery energy. The battery is more likely to drain out faster on fat tires than on thinner ones. As fat tire provides high traction, it will be harder for you to pedal. That is why you are seeing thinner tires more on road racing bikes while fat tire ebike is more for off-road riding. We also have the fat tire option for city cruiser, which meets your need switching between city touring and park trail adventuring.

 

Tire Size Summary

Below is a brief summary I put together to help you choose the type of e-bike.

 

Off-Road

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Addix
Kenda K-Rad 3.3
CST Big Boat Tire
Duro California Fat Tire
Kenda Crusade


A road bike tire leaning on a wall with graffiti

Paved Road

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Addix
Kenda K-Rad 3.3
CST Big Boat Tire
Kenda K-Rad 2.3
Duro California Fat Tire
Kenda Crusade



Foldable E-Bike Tire

CST Big Boat Tire

 

Mootoro V1 front 20-inch with 4-inch fat tire

Fat Tire

CST Big Boat Tire
Kenda Juggernaut

 

Wheel                                                        Tire size

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Addix                                27.5 inch*2.6 inch
Kenda K-Rad 3.3                                                26 inch*3.3 inch
CST Big Boat Tire                                               20 inch*3 inch
Kenda K-Rad 2.3                                                26 inch*2.3 inch
Duro California Fat Tire                                       26 inch*3 inch
Kenda Juggernaut                                               26 inch*4 inch

So there's a trade-off there and you need to consider what are you intend to have. 


If you're going to enjoy the speed of a fully electricity-driven bike and would not bother the energy lost from the wider tire, then the fat tire could be an excellent alternative for you. It's going to offer a relatively smooth, pleasant trip.

But if you still want to use your bike as a conventional bike, doing a lot of less pedal-assisting or perhaps pedal the bike with no type of power aid, then  a thinner tire, something 2.125 or below, should be your best bet.

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